Saturday, 1 October 2011

Bag Fever

            For a few years now Take Pride Winnipeg offers its Bag Up Manitoba program to schools. This contest takes place in October and helps prevent plastic bags from going to land fill sites, or worse The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
           Each participating school receives fifty Frisbees and the book, Timmy the Tumbling Bag by Tom Ethans, Executive Director of TPW. The fourteen top schools win a park bench made of recycled bags.
“We categorized the schools into Rural and Urban,” explained Carly Sallows from TPW. “Then we ranked them by population: small schools compete against each other, while larger schools compete against others with a similar population.”
We knew when we registered for the first time last year that the previous winning school collected 10,000 bags. Being a small school with only 27 students, I predicted we’d collect about 3,000. However, the children, their families and friends responded to the idea like a bag to a gust of wind. Each October morning brought the familiar chant, “I have more bags!” Every few days the grade 4-7 students helped count bags, excited to see how our total increased. We posted the total on white boards at school and in the Kuchl, communal kitchen to motivate everybody to continue bringing bags.
This was not only a fun project for the children; it also created increased awareness about recycling and keeping our community clean, among the adults. “I look at plastic bags differently now.” One grandmother commented. “I no longer just throw them into the garbage.”
Near the end of October everybody kept asking, “Did we win the bench?”
Our bags were scheduled to be picked up on Monday, November the 8th , 2010, but we still didn’t know whether we won. We had heard that the top school collected 19,000 bags!  Our total was 9,719. “I’m sure we didn’t win,” The students said.
“Still, we are sending lots of bags to be recycled,” I reminded them. “And we will receive Frisbees and a book.” Nevertheless, I wondered why we hadn’t heard anything yet.
When Mr. Tom Ethans arrived, we all gathered in one classroom, since he wanted to thank the children for taking part in the program. “I brought you fifty Frisbees and my book,” he announced. This garnered polite applause. We talked about the numbers; how many bags we collected, compared to the school that managed 19,000. “But being the nice people we are,” Mr. Ethans continued, “We’ll give you a bench, too. It’s in my van.” Enthusiastic cheers, applause and smiles ensued! We had placed first in rural schools with population under a hundred!
This year we are participating again and our goal is to go way beyond last year’s total. This is a great program, because it’s a neat way to teach children about recycling and keeping our community clean, and all children, right down to the youngest ones can take part.

Hey, if you're in our area, feel free to collect bags for us. Take Pride Winnipeg wants us to get as many people involved as possible - for a greener, cleaner Manitoba!


  1. This is s a wonderful program! Big Hugs!

  2. Recycling helps the earth because it could save animals, it could save birds, puppies and all kinds of them. A lot of the animals that recycling helps to save are the ocean animals. There are a lot of animals in the ocean that mistake trash for food. They're eating things that we could be recycling. Check out this video:

  3. Thanks Sandy! That's also what the above mentioned video is about - The Great Pacific Garbage Can.


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